Strike action disrupts services and closes schools

Unison Strike: Members of Unison show their feelings at the official picket line at County Hall, Matlock.
Unison Strike: Members of Unison show their feelings at the official picket line at County Hall, Matlock.

STRIKE action crippled locals services and closed schools across our county as protesters joined picket lines this week.

Unions voted to take 24 hours of industrial action over proposed Government changes to the public sector pensions, as well as job cuts and increased working hours.

Dozens of Unison members waved placards outside County Hall on Matlock’s Bank Street yesterday morning before joining thousands of other members at organised rallies in Chesterfield, Nottingham and Derby.

It was estimated that up to two million people joined the strike across Britain.

Jeanette Lloyd, branch secretary in Matlock, was outside the council building from 7am. She said: “The main message is that people have had enough.

“We have had a lot of public support and a lot of empathy.

“The main thing is to get the message out there.

“The Government is hearing us but they do not want to give in to us. They can’t not hear us with the support that’s going off around the country.

“I think we have had to do this, I don’t think there was any other way than some kind of industrial action, it was inevitable.”

The Government wants most public sector workers to pay more into their pensions, work for longer, accept a pension based on a career-average salary, rather than the final salary arrangement which many are currently on.

They say the changes are unavoidable because greater life expectancy and the national debt makes the current pension bill unsustainable, but Unions say the proposals will leave members paying more and working longer for less.

Services affected by this week’s strike included libraries and day care services, with others reduced to a skeleton staff.

Meanwhile, members of the National Association of Schoolmasters/ Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) also voted for strike action, meaning schools across the county were forced to close for the day.

Those affected included Cromford Primary, Castle View Primary, Brassington Primary, Carsington & Hopton Primary, Biggin Primary, Darley Dale Primary, Grindleford Primary, Monyash Primary, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary in Matlock, Rowsley Primary, Matlock’s All Saints’ Infants, Matlock’s All Saints’ Juniors, Tansley Primary and Anthony Gell. Bakewell Methodist Juniors was open to year five pupils only.

* Have you been affected by the strikes? Contact the Mercury by emailing news@matlockmercury.co.uk